“In order to be able to truly love another person, a person needs first to love oneself, in the way of respecting oneself, and knowing oneself (e.g. being realistic and honest about one’s strengths and weaknesses).” – Eric Fromm
For anyone who’s ever been on a commercial flight, I’m sure you recall listening to the airplane safety presentation before take off. It includes elements such as these:
Exits are in the front of the plane, back, and over the wings; be aware the nearest exit may be behind you – look around.
Flotation devices are under the seats in the event of a water landing
If air pressure drops in the cabin, oxygen masks drop down from the overhead. Be sure to put your oxygen mask on before children or helping others.
Be sure to put your oxygen mask on before children or helping others.
It may seem selfish to take care of yourself first in a dangerous or potentially dire situation, but it really is an astute safety measure. The point is to make sure you can breath and are stable before assisting others; otherwise you will become a liability causing resources and time to be used to help you whereas otherwise it would have been unnecessary.
When you take care of yourself first, you can be more productive and then help others. And just like taking care of yourself first on an airplane, if you practice self- love and take care of yourself, you too will be more helpful, productive and overall happier in life.
It’s important to point out that loving oneself is different from being conceited, or egocentric. It means you care about yourself and take responsibility for yourself.
“Regaining of a quiet sense of pleasure in being one’s own self.” – Carl Rogers
Being aware of yourself, your needs and recognizing your worth are the keystone of cultivating self-love.
This starts by gradually learning to accept your weaknesses along with your strengths. It builds out of the thoughts and actions that you choose.
A few tips to help cultivate self love:
Start by checking in with yourself – begin to recognize what you feel, think, and want. Your thoughts dictate your emotions and actions. Slow down and listen what you’re saying to yourself and the thoughts that you’re having. Ask yourself how these are impacting your mood and behavior.
It’s important to enroll in healthy physical activities and exercise, and make sure you’re getting adequate sleep and nutrition. Set time aside for play, social interaction or quiet contemplation. Loving yourself through an established practice to meet your basic needs sets a foundation for further personal growth and wellness.
Consider what you can tolerate and accept and what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed. This is a good way to set limits and recognize activities or interactions that aren’t good for you. Tune into your feelings to recognize what feels good and helpful or what stresses you and feels wrong. Be direct and clear with your wants and needs.
Loving ourselves isn’t a one-time thing.
It’s an ongoing process.